Northamptonshire v Somerset, Flt20 Mids/West Group, Northampton July 17, 2013

Crook aids impressive narrow win

Northamptonshire 150 for 8 (Crook 63, Arafat 3-21) beat Somerset 140 for 8 (Kieswetter 38, Azharullah 3-16) by 10 runs

Northamptonshire moved top of the group in the Friends Life t20 after clinching a narrow 10-run victory over Somerset at Wantage Road.

Rejuvenated Northamptonshire continued their impressive season with a fifth win in six matches and heaped more pressure on struggling Somerset after defending just 150 for 8 in front of their home fans. Somerset, who have reached Finals Day in each of the last four years, have work to do if they are to maintain their fine record in the competition and have now lost three of their opening five group fixtures.

They made a dream start to the match when, after losing the toss, Pakistani pace bowler Yasir Arafat removed dangerous Northants duo Richard Levi and Cameron White in the first over of the match. Arafat became the leading wicket-taker in the domestic T20 competition when he pinned Levi lbw and then had White caught in the deep.

Somerset remained on top and it wasn't until all-rounder Steven Crook came out to bat that Northants gave themselves hope. Crook, in excellent form, cleared the boundary four times during his entertaining innings of 63 from just 36 balls and ensured Northants reached a competitive total.

In reply, Somerset openers Marcus Trescothick and Craig Kieswetter put the visitors ahead of the rate with a breezy 38-run partnership inside five overs before Crook continued his inspirational evening with the breakthrough wicket of Trescothick. The Northamptonshire fightback continued the following over when pace bowler Muhammad Azharullah removed Peter Trego and Nick Compton without scoring.

Kieswetter and Jos Buttler kept Somerset in contention and the latter appeared to be taking Somerset over the line before he was run out in the penultimate over following a mix-up with Arafat. That wicket signalled the end of Somerset's hopes and Azharullah made Alfonso Thomas his third wicket at the death to end with 3 for 16 from his four overs.

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  • John on July 18, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    @thebeardedblunder on (July 18, 2013, 10:04 GMT) I was particularly impressed with Azharullah and like you say , a great signing. Obviously Somerset can still qualify but it's an uphill task although the one (clutching at straws) positive is that I've noticed in recent seasons a few of the winning sides have scraped through the group stages. It wasn't so much that Somerset were favourites that surprised me but the fact they were 4/1 with the nearest being something like 7 or 8/1. I think the one thing you have to do if your serious about winning this tourn is make sure your overseas players are available for every game. I suppose the one consolation was that Levi or White didn't do the damage. If Somerset don't get there (which looks unlikely) good luck with your bet

  • Adrian on July 18, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Talking about the pre tournament odds JG2704, well i'm not really a betting man normally, but I couldn't resist having a cheeky fiver on my County Northamptonshire at 28-1! And they're looking good for the quarter-finals already. What's so reassuring this season is that their bowlers are always confident of defending the total on the board. Azharullah is proving to be a fantastic find, I just hope we can hang onto him.

  • John on July 18, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Gutted. Still I have to give full credit to Northhants bowlers who consistently bowled great lengths especially at the back end of the inns. Obviously Jos's run out was the end of the line but TBH (despite what Sky were saying) I'd still have made Northants favourites as soon as Craig got out. Jos wasn't seeing the ball like a football and the Northants bowlers were by and large spot on. As for Somerset - What's happened to Alviro? I read that he was in the squad for Worcs on Sunday and then was nowhere to be seen. I think the pre tourn favourites odds (which I queried at the time) now look laughable and when just one batsman is out the depth isn't there and the team loses it's potency. When chasing at about 8 an over Nick Compton is not the man you want coming in at 4.

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